Latest Chronicle Rumor Goes National

There's little but doom and gloom coming out of 801 Texas these days, as Houston Chronicle staffers watch its parent company Hearst dismantle papers in Seattle and San Francisco.

Officially, the upcoming layoffs in Houston are supposed to be set at 10 percent of the staff, but wilder and wilder rumors get thrown around whenever reporters meet.

And now one of them has gone national. Gawker, the New York media website, has done an item saying it had "heard a downright bizarre unconfimed rumor" that Hearst will completely consolidate the San Antonio Express and the Houston Chronicle into one operation.

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That rumor has indeed been making the rounds, mostly as a result of the company merging some of the sports coverage and copy-editing tasks.

There's all kinds of permutations of the rumor -- skeleton staffs in San Antonio, lots of stringers and "citizen journalists" filling webspace and even print -- but how much of it is just paranoid mumbling no one really knows at this point. (Not that paranoid mumbling isn't justified these days.)

Easily shared things like feature sections, food sections and lots of "Healthier You!!" crap are pretty certain to be shared. But how far Hearst plans to go we'll just have to wait and see, along with -- apparently -- the crowd at Gawker.

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